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Sustainability News

Dining Services staff try out new chemical-free Activeion cleaning units in January 2010.

There's a lot happening here on campus! Stay tuned to this page for announcements, events, updates, and mentions of sustainability programs in campus and other media sources.

Sign up for the sustainability newsletter and see archived newsletters here.
For info about upcoming events, see the calendar at the Pomona EA website.

Summer 2011

Pomona's Green Office Program mentioned - Media mention
Profile on Pomona's Clean Sweep program - Campus news

Spring 2011

Pomona's SolTrain wins national award - Campus news
Pomona wins campus Power Down competition - Campus news

Fall 2010

Pomona dining halls move toward sustainability - Campus news
Pomona tops the class at the Green Report Card! - Media mention/Campus news
Pomona releases 2009-10 Sustainability Annual Report - Campus news
Pomona students start food and farming internship for local high school students - Campus news
Sierra Club Cool Schools results are in - Media mention

Compost program expanded
- Campus news
New Sustainable Food Coordinator - Campus news

Summer 2010

President Oxtoby interview in Science News - Media mention
Pomona Launches Green Office Certification Program - Campus news
Pomona hosts liberal arts sustainability workshop - Campus news

Spring 2010

Pomona debuts use of chemical-free Activeion cleaning units - Campus news
New residential composting locations - Campus news
Dahon blog features Pomona's folding bikes - Media mention
Kicking T12s to the curb - Campus news

Fall 2009

Students and staff build herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall - Campus news
Pomona Students and Faculty Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference - Campus news
Pomona receives gift for sustainable residence hall - Campus news
Forbes calls Pomona one of "America's Greenest Colleges" - Media mention
Pomona awarded A- in Green Report Card - Campus news/Media mention
Pomona hosts US World Wide Views meetings on climate change - Campus news

Spring 2009

Updated Environmental Policy Approved - Campus news
Sierra Magazine Cool Schools - Media mention
Fox11 News - Laundry Racks - Media mention
Trustees and Faculty Discuss Sustainability at Retreat - Campus news
NWF's ClimateEdu eNewsletter - Climate Action Planning - Media mention
Chronicle of Higher Education - Young, Green, and in Charge! - Media mention
New Items Available for Checkout! - Campus news
Pomona Spreads the Sustainable Word - Campus news

Fall 2008

Folding Bikes Ready for Checkout! - Campus news
Pomona Sends a Group to the AASHE Conference - Campus news
Pomona Launches a New Sustainability Website - Campus news
Announcing the Sustainability Action Fellowship - Campus news
The Audit is Here! - Campus news

News Stories

Summer 2011

Pomona's Green Office Program mentioned University Business Magazine has featured Pomona's Green Office Program prominently in a new article, which you can find here.

Pomona's Clean Sweep program reclaims treasures! Pomona recently published a profile on the College's successful Clean Sweep program. You can see it here!

Spring 2011

Pomona's SolTrain wins award Pomona's hand-built mobile power station SolTrain has been awarded the Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability award from the Association of American College Unions International, during their 2011 annual meeting. See this campus news item for more info!

Pomona wins campus Power Down dorm energy competition Pomona residence halls reduced energy more than those at Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna, and enough to win almost $6,000 for a sustainability project! Oldenborg Residence Halls beat all others on campus to win the vote for what to do with the money (along with a Donut Man party for the whole dorm!). See this campus news item for more info!

Fall 2010

Pomona dining halls move toward sustainability Local and organic items, improved recycling and composting programs, eliminated use of disposable serving materials, a weekly featured local farmer, and more! See this recent campus news item about sustainability in dining for more info!

Pomona tops the class at the Green Report Card! The Sustainable Endowment Institute's 2011 Green Report Card names Pomona as one of seven colleges and universities across the country to receive a grade of "A" for campus sustainability initiatives! Over 300 campuses were assessed for this annual survey, which considers endowment and investment practices along with operations, facilities, and other sustainability efforts. You can see more at the Green Report Card website, at Pomona's assessment page, and in Pomona's news release.

Pomona releases 2009-10 Sustainability Annual Report This new yearly report summarizes all sustainability-related programs, projects, and efforts during the 2009-10 year and contains a variety of data points that measure the College's environmental impacts and progress toward goals. Major accomplishments this year: reduced water use, reduced landfill waste, and reduced fertilizer use. There's still a lot of work to do, but we're making progress! Access the entire report here [pdf] , or go to the initiatives section pages to see information by topic.

Pomona students start food and farming internship for local high school students See more about this amazing new program at the Pomona news story, here.

Sierra Club Cool Schools results are in! Sierra Club's annual Cool Schools survey results just came in - Pomona is up more than 30 places to #23! Schools were rated on energy sources, food purchasing, alternative transportation options, and more - see the details here. We did best in the transportation category, but received high schools in many other categories including waste, administration, and efficiency. 

Composting Program Expanded After a successful pilot phase, the Sustainability Integration Office has expanded the campus composting program to four new locations! Bins are now installed near Harwood, Oldenborg, Smiley, and Clark III along with the original Mudd-Blaisdell and Walker locations. You can see a map of the locations on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page.

New Sustainable Food Coordinator position Samantha Meyer '10 has joined the Dining Services staff to develop and coordinate sustainability programs, including food and materials purchasing, waste management, and other efforts. If you have ideas or concerns, you can email her at samantha.meyer@pomona.edu.  

Summer 2010

President Oxtoby interview in Science News Pomona's president David Oxtoby was interviewed by Science News about the College's sustainability efforts, the downside to LEED, and why carbon credits may not be the best option for us. See the interview here.

Pomona Launches Green Office Certification Program After certifying six offices during the pilot phase of the program in the spring, the Sustainability Integration Office has launched the new Green Office Program, certifying offices and departments on campus for engaging in sustainable behavior. See more info on the Green Office webpage or in the recent Pomona news story.

Pomona hosts liberal arts sustainability workshop For two days, faculty from liberal arts colleges around the country met at Pomona to discuss the integration of sustainability into the liberal arts curriculum. This group of 28 faculty from schools including Vassar, Macalester, Reed, Swarthmore, and Wesleyan discussed topics such as service-learning and sustainability, eco-criticism, environmental justice, integrating campus facilities into coursework, and many others, and received a tour of sustainability efforts at the Claremont Colleges. This workshop was funded by the Mellon 23 group, as well as the Pomona Dean's Office, the Harvey Mudd Dean's Office, the Environmental Analysis Program, and the Sustainability Integration Office.

Spring 2010

Pomona debuts use of chemical-free Activeion units Dining Services and Housekeeping are now using Activeion units for cleaning campus facilities. These units use absolutely no chemicals or solvents for cleaning, but instead rely on the natural sanitizing and cleansing power of ionized water. Units are also available at all RA desks for student use. See more about the units, including a video from Bill Nye the Science Guy, at the Activeion website.

New residential composting locations Want to compost but having trouble getting down to the Farm? The President's Sustainability Fund has recently funded a pilot program for residential composting - check out the new bins in the Mudd-Blaisdell courtyard and between Walker and Clark V. Everyone is welcome to dispose of all compostable wastes - including fruit and vegetable scraps, vegan food scraps, and light paper items (e.g. tissues, napkins) in these brown bins. See more about Pomona's composting efforts here and here.

Dahon blog features Pomona's folding bikes See the story on their blog here.

Kicking T12s to the Curb Seen a lot of "Lime Energy" around Campus? The College has sought the help of local energy retrofit company Lime Energy to completely eliminate old T12 fluorescent light bulb technology from campus. For the next four weeks, Lime crews will be changing out bulbs and ballasts from over 8,000 fixtures around campus, including residential, academic, and administrative facilities. This will shave more than four percent off the College's annual electricity usage (and the bill too!), and will pay for itself in less than three years.

Fall 2009

Students and staff build herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall A group of four students and Farm Technician Juan Araya have built a new raised-bed herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall. And huge thanks to Grounds for helping to prepare the site! This garden will provide herbs and spices as local as possible - right outside the back door! Commissioned by Head Chef Stein, this is just one example of how Pomona is using local, fresh ingredients in campus dining facilities.

Pomona Students and Faculty Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Two Pomona students and a Pomona faculty member are attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, after working on the World Wide Views project to gauge Americans' views of climate change policy action. See the news story here.

Pomona Receives Gift for Sustainable Residence Hall Pomona has received a generous $7.5 million gift toward the North Campus Residence Hall Project. See the news story here.

Forbes calls Pomona one of "America's Greenest Colleges" Forbes Magazine has crowned Pomona one of America's 10 Greenest Colleges. See the online feature here.

Pomona awarded A- in Green Report Card Pomona has been awarded an A- (the highest grade awarded) in the Sustainable Endowment Institute's annual Green Report Card. The College joins 25 other schools in being recognized for leadership in sustainability programs, projects, and commitments. You can see the news story here and Pomona's Green Report Card profile here.

Pomona hosts US World Wide Views meetings on climate change Pomona College is one of only 5 U.S. sites for the World Wide Views meetings on climate change, to gather citizen input in preparation for the UN Copenhagen conference in December. See the news story here.

Spring 2009

Updated Environmental Policy Approved On May 16, 2009, the Board of Trustees approved an update to the College's Statement of Environmental Policy. This policy explicitly states the College's commitment to sustainability and sets new standards and requirements for decision-making in four key areas: capital projects, budgetary and financial planning, education and research, and assessment and review. It also formally creates the Sustainability Integration Office, headed by Bowen Patterson.

Sierra Magazine Cool Schools Pomona has received "extra credit" in the Sierra Club's annual Cool Schools survey. We received these "bonus points" in their rating for our Green Housekeeping program. You can see the coverage here.

Fox11 News - April 22, 2009 Pomona's innovative drying rack program was featured on April 22, 2009 (Earth Day!) on the local Fox11 News. You can see the video here.

Trustees and Faculty Discuss Sustainability at Retreat At this year's Trustee-Faculty Retreat, Pomona's Board and Faculty spent two days discussing sustainability both globally and locally, learning from high-profile plenary speakers about global issues and discussing in breakout sessions how Pomona should move forward with sustainability goals. For two nights and two days, over 200 attendees including Trustees, Faculty, Administration, and their families heard from speakers including John Bryson (retired CEO of Southern California Edison and Founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council) and L. Hunter Lovins (President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and well-known author). Attendees also participated in breakout sessions on topics such as transportation, student activism, sustainability in the curriculum, greening the campus, and how to reduce their own environmental impacts.

NWF's ClimateEdu eNewsletter Pomona's Climate Action Plan process is featured in the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology program's ClimateEdu eNewsletter article "Never-Ending Story: Moving Forward on Climate Action Planning," see here.

Chronicle of Higher Education Sustainability Integration Office Director Bowen Patterson was interviewed for the Chronicle's article "Young, Green, and in Charge," see here.

New Items Available for Checkout! Starting January 2009, the Sustainability Coordinator's office now has drying racks and compost buckets for students to check out and use, FREE of charge! These two items are added to the CFL light bulbs that have been available for students since 2007. Together, these items mark the start of what will hopefully soon be an expanded array of "sustainable lifestyle items" available to help spread sustainable behaviors and practices among the campus community. For more information on this program, see the Checkout page here.

Pomona Spreads the Sustainable Word This spring, representatives from Pomona will present on campus sustainability topics at three conferences and workshops around the country.

In January, Sustainability Coordinator Bowen Patterson was invited to Furman University in Greenville, SC, for four days to assist the University in writing their Climate Action Plan. Bowen was joined by representatives of Middlebury College, University of New Hampshire, Cornell University, and the non-profit Clean Air-Cool Planet to help facilitate the workshop and provide assistance with plan content.

In March, Bowen and student Allie Comet '09 will present a workshop entitled "Building Relationships through Gardens" at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Portland, OR. They will talk about the Pomona College campus farm and development of the campus compost program.

Also in March, Bowen and student Chelsea Hodge '09 will present a workshop entitled "Utilizing students to broaden sustainability planning beyond ACUPCC" at the Pacific Regional Society of College and University Planners (SCUP) conference in Boulder, CO. They will discuss the Sustainability Action Fellowship and other methods of student participation in the current Action Plan process.

Fall 2008

Folding Bikes Ready for Checkout! Pomona's fleet of six folding bikes are now ready for check out through the On The Loose gear room. The bikes can be checked out for one week at a time and require a refundable deposit. Check with On The Loose for more information. Gear Room hours are M-W 8-11 p.m. and Th 7-11 p.m. The Gear Room is in Walker Lounge. Unlike conventional bikes, these folding bikes can be folded and taken on public transportation any time of day. They can also easily be folded and put in a trunk for bike trips in faraway parts of LA.

Pomona Sends a Group to the AASHE Conference From November 8-11, Pomona's Sustainability Coordinator and five students will travel to the 2nd Bi-Annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), of which the College is a member. This group will attend sessions about campus sustainability and what others schools are doing. The Sustainability Coordinator will talk on a panel session about the College's Sustainability Audit, and another student will present a poster on the College's Drying Racks Program. This conference will allow the group to gather strategies and ideas for moving forward with sustainability on campus, including opportunities to talk with vendors, consultants, and other supporting businesses at the Sustainable Solutions Expo. Funding for this travel was provided by: the Sustainability Coordinator's Office, the Dean of Students, ASPC, and EQC.

Pomona Launches a New Sustainability Website Welcome to our new Sustainability at Pomona College website! This expanded sustainability site is a clearinghouse for information about sustainability efforts at the College. The site was created by the Sustainability Coordinator's Office and it is intended to provide information about current sustainability efforts, opportunities to get involved, and how the campus community can reduce its environmental impact.

The website includes direct links to recent efforts, including the College's Sustainability Action Plan process and opportunities to download sections of the campus' sustainability audit. Over the coming years, the website will develop portals for up-to-date information about resource use and current projects and will track progress on goals like carbon neutrality and resource use reduction.

The website's input pages also provide a brand-new, easy opportunity to provide input about the College's sustainability efforts or to ask questions about how things work on campus. If you have ideas about what you'd like to see on the site or have any questions or comments about sustainability at the College, you can contact the Sustainability Coordinator or visit the input page.

Announcing the Sustainability Action Fellowship The Sustainability Coordinator has just announced a new program for students to be an integral part of the creation of the College's Sustainability Action Plan. A group of 29 students have been chosen as Sustainability Action Fellows, to receive leadership training and to be the driving force of the collection of strategies for the Plan. This group of students, assigned to one of six topics (energy, water, purchasing, education/communication, waste and recycling, or environmental justice) will be responsible for seeking out sustainability strategies in their assigned topic area. Their work will include interviews with key staff and faculty, research about what other institutions are doing, basic financial and implementation analysis, and gathering input from the campus community about opportunities and goals.

The audit is here! Pomona has completed its first-ever campus sustainability audit. Over the last five months, CTG Energetics and a team of student auditors, have been working hard to compile and analyze data about the College's environmental footprint. This effort has resulted in a massive document providing information about the ins-and-outs of the campus' impacts, including the following topics:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Consumables

This audit is the first step in assessing Pomona's sustainability goals and opportunities for change. It identifies possible strategies for change (e.g. the water section of the audit identifies the costs, payback periods, and savings of adjustments and improvements to indoor plumbing fixtures) and describes opportunities for funding, rebates, and other helpful implementation procedures.